Top 5 Facts: Speed


The first land speed record was set by count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat in Yveslines, France, on 18 December 1898 at – for the time – a rather dizzying 39mph.

Mach 1

The speed of sound is 761mph (1,224kph), which in aviation terms is referred to as Mach 1. To achieve low Earth orbit you’d need to be travelling at the equivalent of Mach 25.4.


At the speed of sound you are travelling at 340.3 metres per second, the equivalent of three times the length of Manchester United’s Old Trafford football pitch, which Mr Wayne Rooney will probably be interested to know.

Phileas Fogg

The circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles. At 1,000 miles per hour you could travel around it in little more than 24 hours… not bad for a day’s work.


To accomplish a 1,000mph record-breaking attempt, a runway area of over 14 miles is necessary, with a massive ten miles needed purely for braking.